Your Stories

Palliative Care For My Mother, My Best Friend
 



I was shocked and saden when I found out at the early age of 66 my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 Non small cell Adenocarcinoma in October, 2015. Lung Cancer. She wasnt sick before then went to go get a check up as she was getting a cold and couldnt get rid of it. They did xrays and sent to breathing specialist who then did more tests. Finally was referrred to an amazing oncologist in windsor. He did more tests and a biopsy of the neck. After finding out she did not have long to live they arranged for chemo and radiaiton. The wait list was to long for radiaiton, so in turn decided to start chemo immediately. The oncologist told her it was her only option to prolong her life. "If we dont start right away you will be dead with a week." The entire family was in shock and awh.

I had been recently taking a palliative course and work as a psw in the community. I did lots of research and kept up with updates from my mom as I lived 8 hours away. I wanted to attend Dr.'s appt. with her but was unable to at first. The stress, anxiety and overwelming feeling of being left out and unable to help eventually got to me the day my mom had fallen at home and broke her shoulder (humerus bone) and they did not want to admit mom to hospital for tests or refer her to her palliative dr. They finally admitted her after a second trip to the hospital but only under the pressure the family had put them in. The dr. there had wanted to order tests. Nothing was being done. I had a feeling that my moms cancer had spread to the brain. After waiting for two days and still no tests etc. I contacted the oncologist in windsor immediately and they contacted hospital to get tests underway. The results were another blow to the family, the cancer had spread. I made a dr. appt. under direct orders was to go to be with her. I went to be there. The rest of family had met with dr. and had decided to do radiation of the brain. The results of the mri were great the cancer that was in lungs and around esphogist was gone all but a small spot in one lung. We started going back and forth to Windsor to the cancer clinic for radiaiton.

The last day of radiaiton we took mom to emergency as she was not breathing good and her hydration was terrible. They did tests and found out moms cancer was all back and had spread but this dr had no rights on telling mom anything. She had infection in lungs. Started on antibiotics and sent home. Mom seemed to get a bit better, on request got oxygen into the home. Try to pamper her as much as I possible could and she liked that we had lots of laughs, stayed very positive for her. She didnt want me to go home. I stayed and had planned to come home after two weeks and things got worse, every time I said I was going home anxiety would get bad for both of us but especially my mom. I decided to stay until my dr. appt.

The day I was getting ready to leave her anxiety was really bad. I called the nurse to come in, after the nurse came in she decided to go to hospital. While the nurse was there mom asked if she was dying and the nurse answered yes.I made a decision not to leave and had told her this but the anxiety really never let up. Once settled into the palliative care unit at hospital she seemed to be a bit better. We had a meeting with the doctor and he had told us the cancer had spread to moms liver and such. We were not told that by any of the dr.s until then. It was yet another shock. I knew she had very little time left now, but remained hopeful for a bit longer. We stayed with mom until 9 pm that evening and decided to go home and sleep.

We got up the next morning and were cleaning up when the phone ran. My two sisters had went up at 6 am to see her and visit until we came up later in the day. My had requested dad go up right away. I told dad I would continue to finish cleaning up and head into town once I was done. When I arrived we had another meeting with dr. and he said my mom was going to die today or tomorrow. I had made up my mind I was not leaving hospital that evening. I went home to grab clothes, toothbrush, my moms toothbrush etc. I returned and stayed with my mom overnight. She started off not to bad and was able to take meds herself still. As bedtime approached she couldnt swollow her pills very well so they gave apple sauce.

In the middle of the night everything got worse. Breathing and pill taking. It was very very upsetting to watch as mom slowly deteriorated. We were up every hour from approximately 1am. Morning came and by this time mom was unresponsive. Saddened by this but extremely glad I had spent the last bit of time with her. We were very very close when I lived at home. We did everything together. I went home once other family had got there to go have quiet time to reflect and have my break down in private. I went back to my parents to shower. I returned with lunch for me and my dad and by the then my sisters were both there and my brother inlaw. My older sister was telling us her daughter and daughter were on way up. So my younger sister and I decided to go back to her house for a coffee and for her to have lunch. We no sooner got to her house and my mom had died. Shocked and upset i was not there. we went back to hospital and i gave my mom a long hug and whispered to her she was an amazing women with strength, and was now in gods hands.

No more suffering, she never complained about pain or anything. Told me once she was scared but no pain. Her breathing was the issue and the rapid heart rate. I know while caring for mom the nurses and dr.s all told me I was an incredible woman and did an amazing job helping with my mom, they all knew why I did this job for a living and told me I would be an awesome nurse, I went well above and beyond. I love my job but deep down I felt I should have been there sooner. I am so grateful for the wonderful family I have, they let me spend time with the most couragous, brave and selfless woman I know, love and miss. Truly the best experience in giving back.